Estate planning is never one-size-fits-all. Everyone has different goals, different needs, and different financial situations. As such, one of the most important steps in the process is meeting with an attorney to determine which estate planning documents are right for you.
For example, would your needs be better served by a living trust or will lawyers? Living trust or will lawyers can consult with you to determine which option makes the most sense. In the meantime, consider a few quick points about these two documents, and the value that each can bring to your estate plan.
What is a Will?
Let’s start by considering the basic will.
Basically, a will is a legal document that allows you to outline your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets upon your death. In addition, a will lets you specify your wishes regarding guardianship for your minor children.
While a will can sometimes be a useful component of your estate plan, it’s important to keep in mind that wills have some inherent limitations. Most notably, your will is probably not going to be sufficient to keep your estate out of probate. To accomplish that, you may want to consider having a trust.
What is a Living Trust?
So, what is a living trust, exactly?
A living trust is a legal document, usually created under the guidance of a living trust lawyer, that designates a person (a trustee) to manage your assets on your behalf. Crucially, living trusts are designed to make it easy for you to transfer your assets upon your death, and to sidestep the often-complex probate process.
Different Types of Living Trust
As you consider including a living trust within your estate plan, it’s important to note that there are two basic types, the revocable living trust and the irrevocable living trust. A living trust attorney can help you determine which one is in your best interests.
- Revocable living trust. The revocable living trust allows you to appoint yourself as the trustee, which can give you a little more control over how the assets are managed. With that said, the assets remain part of your estate, meaning you may be on the hook for estate taxes.
- Irrevocable living trust. An irrevocable living trust requires you to hand over control of your assets, entrusting the management of them to a designated trustee. The trustee becomes the legal owner of the assets, which has the upshot of releasing you from the burden of paying estate taxes.
Again, a living trust attorney can help you make an informed decision about which type of document you need.
Choosing What’s Best for Your Estate Plan
It is sometimes assumed that having a will is sufficient for your estate planning needs. At Singh Law Firm, we advise most of our clients to weigh the benefits of a living trust, which can help them stay out of probate, maintain the full value of their estate, and keep the contents of their estate confidential.
But again, estate planning is never one-size-fits-all, and more complex estates require more intricate strategies. The best way to achieve your estate planning goals is to work closely with a living trust lawyer, like the ones here at Singh Law Firm.
A will and estate lawyer from our firm can walk you through all the different documents and tools that are available to you, including the financial Power of Attorney. To learn more about the different ways to protect your estate, beyond a simple last will and testament, reach out and schedule an appointment with Singh Law Firm.
Living Trust and Will Lawyers: What’s the Difference?
As you consider your estate planning needs, you’ll be faced with a couple of immediate questions. The first question is, can you handle your estate planning needs on your own, or should you hire a pro? And the second question is, if you do hire a pro, what kind of lawyer should you hire? Specifically, what’s the distinction between living trust and will lawyers?
These are both important questions that can have a decisive impact on whether your estate plan ultimately helps you achieve your desired outcomes. Let’s look at each of them more closely.
Do You Need to Hire a Will or Living Trust Attorney?
First of all, do you really need to hire an attorney at all? Or is it okay to handle estate planning on a DIY level?
There are certainly some basic estate planning tasks that you can handle on your own, including the development of a will. But, as you’ll soon see, a will alone may be insufficient for meeting your estate planning goals. Furthermore, even with these relatively simple documents, a single error can invalidate your entire estate.
For those who require more sophisticated estate planning documents, and even for those who just want to get the basics right, hiring a will or living trust lawyer is typically best.
Is a Will Sufficient?
The next question is, will you be alright simply hiring an attorney who specializes in wills? Or do you need an advanced estate planning lawyer who can help you put together a revocable living trust?
A will is a legal document that allows you to specify how your assets will be distributed when you die… basically, a way for you to answer the who gets what question. Additionally, you can use your will to specify who you wish to serve as a guardian for your minor children.
However, a will alone is seldom good enough for a truly robust estate plan. That’s because with a will, you run the risk that your estate enters probate, which can be time-consuming and costly and potentially lead to your wishes being violated.
For this reason, it is often preferable to augment your will with a revocable living trust. And to do this, you’ll need to summon the expertise of a living trust attorney.
The Benefits of Hiring a Living Trust Lawyer
Basically, a living trust will allow you to have greater control over how your assets are managed. Generally, a trust will help keep your assets out of probate. What this means is:
- You can ensure that your assets are distributed the way you want them to be.
- You can minimize hassle and headaches for your heirs and beneficiaries.
- You can maintain the confidentiality of your estate.
- You can maximize the value of your estate.
- You can choose a trustee to help manage your assets in a way that benefits your heirs.
These are just a few of the reasons why it may be smart to work with a wills and estate lawyer, specifically someone who has ample expertise developing trusts.
Connect with Singh Law Firm
As you seek an attorney with sophisticated knowledge of the estate planning process, consider Singh Law Firm. Whether you’re looking to draft a last will and testament or to develop a financial power of attorney, our living trust and will lawyers can assist you. And, we can certainly answer your questions about the pros and cons of having a trust.
Ready to talk with one of our estate planning lawyers? Schedule a consultation with an attorney from Singh Law Firm at your next opportunity.
Reach out to Singh Law Firm to learn more.